Book Review: Soldier of the Legion

SoldieroftheLegionby Michael D. Pederson


Soldier of the Legion
Marshall S. Thomas
Timberwolf Press, 280 pp.

Winner of the Publishers Marketing Association’s Benjamin Franklin Award and ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Award, Soldier of the Legion draws on a rich tradition of military science fiction—from Heinlein to Haldeman to Epic Comics’ Alien Legion. Taking place way way in the future, Legion pits humanity’s Confederation of Free Worlds against a decaying empire of slavers, giant bugs, and evil alien invaders. We follow the exploits of Beta 3 (a third rank soldier in Beta squad), call sign Thinker, as his squad travels to a distant planet to fight off a slaver incursion. Thomas has put a lot of consideration into the technology, weaponry, and tactics of his futuristic Legion and it pays off in what is an epic testosterone-driven military adventure. Sure, it’s very much a male fantasy world where women exist to be rescued or to have sex with (Beta 3 ends up with three wives by the end of the story) but at a certain level you have to applaud the author for knowing his audience. And don’t let my use of the phrases “testosterone-driven” and “male fantasy” fool you, this is not merely a simplistic action story. Thomas makes some very intriguing choices… He gives us almost no information about the characters’ backgrounds, making us feel that anyone is expendable. The book—subtitled Book One of the Beta 3 Series—ends on a cliffhanger, with the title character mere seconds from certain death. Will he be back for the sequel or will the next book follow the adventures of a new Beta 3? I look forward to the answer.


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